Thursday, 16 February 2012

Judge hits out at sentence rules as cannabis producer walks free - letter sent

sent to the Daily Telegraph:

"Judge Michael Murphy has criticised new sentencing guidelines on drugs offenders after he gave a man who grew cannabis plants a non-custodial sentence." (Telegraph, Feb 16)

So many times I have read that a Judge has said that he / she can do nothing about the law and that it is up to the Government to make the law and set the guidelines.

Now we have a judge that is upset because he cannot send a man to prison.

Who did this man Cupit harm?  Whom did he put at risk?

It seems to me from this articles, the answer is nobody - so why one earth send him to prison anyway?   The good judge is letting his personal feelings about cannabis come above natural Justice, so often absent from the Courts in cannabis cases.

I ask what Right the police had in entering Mr Culpit's house and interfering with his Right to a Private Life.

Human Rights law makes quite specific criteria that the authorities need to satisfy before interfering with a Private Life: it must be that there is a risk to public health, public order, national security or the Rights of others.  Maybe the police can tell us how the growing of cannabis in private for own use does that?  If not, then the police may have acted illegally: the use of the law as justification is not enough

Alun Buffry
Judge hits out at sentence rules as cannabis producer walks free 
Daily Telegraph, February 16 2012

Judge Michael Murphy has criticised new sentencing guidelines on drugs offenders after he gave a man who grew cannabis plants a non-custodial sentence.

The judge said the production of cannabis in the area was at epidemic levels
15 Feb 2012
The judge said if 33-year-old Craig Cupit had appeared before him a few months ago he would have been jailed.

But new guidelines from the Sentencing Council for England and Wales which come into effect later this month advise against jailing offenders in cases such as the one before him, he said.

Judge Murphy, one of the most senior judges sitting at Sheffield Crown Court said: "For weeks and months I have been saying in these courts that the production of cannabis in this area is at epidemic levels yet here we are being given guidelines which completely dilute our powers."

He said the last time he dealt with a list of cases for sentence at the court, three-quarters of them involved prosecutions for the production of cannabis.

The judge said he was effectively bound by the new guidelines but added: "I don't want to be but that is what the law says."

The judge told Cupit: "If you had been in front of this court six months ago you would have been going to prison but the law has changed. Many of us find it difficult to understand why."

Sentencing guidelines have been changed by the council in an attempt to make courts more consistent in their approach to sentencing.

The court heard that police raided Cupit's home on September 29 last year and found a cannabis production set-up in his cellar.

Eight plants were growing which it was estimated would yield 896 grammes of cannabis with a total street value of £8,960.

Cupit, of Swinton, near Rotherham admitted producing cannabis.

His barrister Dermot Hughes said his knee was in a "mess" and he used cannabis to alleviate the pain.

He needed a replacement but because of his age would not get one for some time.

Judge Murphy gave Cupit a 12-month community order with supervision by the probation service and ordered him to attend a victim awareness group.

In a separate case, the judge said the new guidelines were "confusing" and a "lottery" as he gave shop owner Neil Tyler, 53, a suspended jail term for producing cannabis.

Tyler, who runs an off-licence at Crookes, Sheffield was found to be growing cannabis in his cellar. He told police: "It's all mine and nothing to do with anyone else."

The plants seized had a street value of £3,200 but Tyler admitted it was his third attempt at growing a crop.

Prosecutors claimed he had grown 24 plants which would have put him in a more serious category for sentencing of up to 26 weeks in custody.

But the defence argued it was only 16 plants and he should be placed in a lesser category meriting a community penalty.

"This had nothing whatsoever to do with financial gain, it was for his own use, " said Jack Danaher, defending. Tyler admitted producing cannabis.

It was said to help him ease the pain in his leg after he was bitten by an insect while holidaying in Mexico.
In deliberating on his sentence, Judge Murphy said of the guidelines: "It baffles me and troubles me. We are trying to get some common sense out of it."

The judge added: "Given the confusion as to where he stands on this lottery it seems to me it is not immediate custody although he passes the custody threshold."

He told Tyler to stop using the drug and said "there are other ways of pain relief."

Tyler was given a four-month prison term suspended for 12 months and ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid community work.

1 comment:

  1. Is cannabis marijuana get legalized? Because now a days there are many legal herbal incense online.